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Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture Internship

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A hands-on, personalised internship to help indigenous Andean communities transition from deforestation & agrochemicals towards more sustainable & regenerative solutions

Ecuador is the 8th most biodiverse country in the world. The province of Bolívar, with ecosystems ranging from highland deserts (4,000m+) to the coastal tropical forests (300m) has some of the country's widest variety of flora and fauna. However many of these habitats are at risk of permanent damage through industrialised agriculture and deforestation. The reasons for this are complex and are often the simple desire for people to earn an honest living to support their families.


Bring your passion to help protect and regenerate the ecological regions of the Bolívar province. With support from our team, you will design and implement a personalised internship to address one of the several environmental challenges affecting the area. You will have the chance to build relationships with local stakeholders to identify a sustainable way to take your internship from research to reality!

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The Challenge

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Although stunningly beautiful, Bolívar is one of Ecuador’s poorest provinces. There is a high rate of malnutrition, illiteracy and poverty. With few employment opportunities, most high-school graduates quickly leave to the larger cities and the indigenous language and culture is under threat. Most of the rural population work the land for a meagre income, and with the recent rise in living costs and the reduction of fuel subsidies their real wealth has declined further.

Since the 1970s, Ecuador has relied heavily on fertilisers and insecticides. This has degraded the soils and contaminated the rivers and drinking water. Native forests have been replaced with fields and eucalyptus trees; biodiversity has plummeted, water security is under threat and landslides are common. Since in war with Ukraine, the cost of agrochemicals has gone up significantly, but the sale price of the limited range of produce they grow (corn, beans, potatoes, grains) has remained similar. It is clear that something needs to change, but there is not the governmental support to make that happen.

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Your Internship

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What's Included

 

  • Support to attain academic credits (through your university/education provider)

  • Dedicated programme advisor

  • 24/7 local coordinator

  • Transport & materials budget ($50/month)

  • Accommodation (Private Room)

  • Cooked lunches (Mon - Thu)

  • WiFi & washing machine access

 

What's Not Included

 

  • Flights, visas, vaccines or expenses to reach us

  • Travel, health and work insurance

  • Other meals

  • Leisure time activities

  • Spending money

Requirements

  • Low-intermediate level of Spanish

  • Initiative & a positive mindset

 

Cost: $430 / month

Overview

We're searching for passionate students looking for a unique hands-on internship - to improve your CV and make an impact in the world. You will have a flexible work schedule, personal mentoring and the resources required to reach this goal.

You will live with a local family in a private room in close proximity to other international volunteers. Spend your free time experiencing the rich Ecuadorian culture and leave the project with new skills, friendships & unforgettable memories, as well as a meaningful piece of work that can help disadvantaged communities around the world.

Program of Work

Through your internship, you will learn about the regional challenges. Once you have selected one that excites you, you will receive support to dive deep into the problem to understand the underlying causes, impacts and possible solutions. Possible solutions may include ideas such as sustainable agriculture practices, water harvesting and filtration, eco tourism or natural building. If your research proves promising, we will look for the resources to implement your project, and bring your ideas to life!

Activities

  • Research regional challenges

  • Identify a personalized internship

  • Build relationships with local stakeholders

  • Investigate the causes of the problem

  • Quantify the impact and likely trajectory

  • Create a project action plan

  • Research possible alternatives

  • Build a realistic plan and strategy

  • Create a predicted timeline

  • Develop a budget

  • Present your findings to local stakeholders

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¡Apply Today!

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Arrival

We welcome interns throughout the year and can be flexible about the time of year you arrive. We receive new people on a Sunday, so that you can receive a tour and get fully integrated on the Monday morning. You can stay anywhere from 1 to 6 months, or whatever is required for you to fulfil your internship requirements.

 

We are equidistant between Ecuador's two largest cities of Guayaquil and Quito, both 4-5 hours by bus. Travel is inexpensive and generally safe, though there are private car options available. We can help you decide where you would like to travel to and share the information of how to arrive. Once you arrive in Guaranda, you can get a taxi (maximum $5) to reach us.

Application Process

 

  1. Fill out the online application form

  2. Participate in an online interview

  3. Provide a reference

  4. Upon acceptance, complete required documents for your education provider

  5. Place your deposit

  6. Join us for a memorable experience here in the Ecuadorian Andes!

Free Time Activities

On the weekends, go off exploring the rest of Ecuador. Within just an hour, you could be swimming in pristine waterfalls, learning about the surrounding indigenous cultures or hiking above 5,000m at the foot of the point on earth closest to the sun. Alternatively, go a bit further to the outdoor adventure paradise of Baños or visit the beautiful colonial architecture in the capital Quito, UNESCO's first world heritage site.

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¿Who Are We?

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El Terreno is a center of cultural exchange and social innovation in the heart of the Andes. We bring together local Ecuadorians and people from around the world to create a more meaningful, sustainable and prosperous world.

 

In collaboration with interns, partners, volunteers and the community, we work to regenerate local ecosystems, build pride in indigenous culture, support dignified socio-economic development and offer a wide variety of unique tourism experiences.